Your 4 Step Guide to Driving Traffic to Your Business Website with Guest Posts
You’ve poured yourself into building the perfect website. But now, you realize nobody is visiting. How do you build up authority and attract organic, quality attention to your business website without spending thousands on advertising?
Guest posting is a powerful way to get you started. It builds your reputation by demonstrating you know your chops on established blogs in your industry, while attracting traffic from your target market.
That said, we’re not here to convince you whether guest blogging is worth your time. Today’s goal is to teach you how to be effective once you decide to do it!
Step 1: Prepare Your Blogger Hit List
First, you need to find authoritative bloggers whose readers match your target market.
Let’s say you run a painting company in California. You’ll search for every blog that discusses topics related to painting, interior design, and exterior remodeling, or otherwise shares a similar target audience to yours:
Above is an example of how to format your hit list in a spreadsheet. Don’t hesitate to add columns for contact details or relevant information you find in your search!
Start by filling your spreadsheet with blogs, websites, and people in your business’ niche that you’re already familiar with. We bet you already subscribe to a few.
Next, take your target SEO keyword list and enter each one into Google in turn.
The first two pages are filled with the webpages that hold highest authority for the keyword in question. Review each result and confirm whether the site allows for guest posts, adding each that does to your spreadsheet.
Take special note of which results are blog posts, writing the author names in a list as you work. By the time you’ve exhausted your keyword list, you should have at least a few author names saved. Do the same thing you did for your target SEO keywords: search by author. This time, find out where else they’ve been writing. Chances are, these sites will overlap with your target keywords. Add them to your spreadsheet, too!
Step 2: Create Killer Post Ideas
Now that you know who you’re targeting, it’s time to craft post ideas.
Two to three ideas per pitch is best, because it gives the editor a good variety to choose from without wasting their time on an exhaustive list.
How to Generate Post Ideas
Jot down all the post ideas that come to mind through this process:
- Identify the main topics that each blog talks about. You may have already begun this process while creating your hit list!
- Take the time to understand what works for each readership. What type of articles are most popular? Snoop around and read top articles. (To quantify this, check for an active comments section and high share counts.)
- Check out the length and format for top articles. Are they long? Short? ‘Listicles‘?
These answers will identify the kind of content that the blog is likely looking for, and as such, what you should look to write.
By now you have a solid list of data and a nice list of inspired ideas. Take what you now know, and work through your ideas until you have whittled down to two or three specific concepts.
How to Format Post Ideas
A post idea is only as good as its execution, so you’ll format each with the following structure:
- A clear headline that explains what the article is about. (Here’s an infographic on how to formulate strong headlines.)
- One to two sentences briefly synopsising what the article will cover.
- An overview of the exact value or takeaway the reader gains.
Step 3: Pitch Your Prospects
You’re armed with beautiful post ideas, and it’s time to pitch them! But how?
A good pitch is short and to the point, but don’t just throw your ideas together and call it a day. Here are a few tips on crafting the perfect pitch.
Write Unique Email Subject Lines
Your email subject line shouldn’t read “Guest Post Inquiry” – it’s uninteresting and doesn’t tell the editor why your email has merit.
Instead, give context to your article submissions. Pull them in with the headlines you’ll talk about in the email. Here are a couple intriguing subject lines to get your mind on the right track:
- “50 shades of white? Yes, there’s a difference.”
- “The Rust Behind the Paint (And How It’s Ruining Your House)”
Get to Know the Editor
Editors receive endless pitches. They are more likely to accept a pitch when the writer takes the time to find a connection.
A brief look at LinkedIn or Twitter lets you know if you grew up in a similar neighborhood or both love to travel. Reach out with the similarities the two of you share. A few well chosen lines of introduction can work magic.
Explain Your Benefit to the Blog
Explain why you, specifically, provide benefit to the blog.
This includes your experiences, passion, or expertise in your industry. In other words, find what separates you from the pack, and include it in your pitch.
Here’s more details on how to write the perfect pitch.
Step 4: Deliver Quality Posts
Congratulations! Your article ideas were accepted. It’s time to deliver a quality post.
Each editor has different methods for handling submissions, so be sure to ask:
- Whether the blog has a style guide to follow
- Whether they expect an article outline first
- When they expect your final post
Triple check that you follow the provided guidelines before submitting your work. Most importantly: Submit your work on time. Most people are not reliable, so you already stand out by simply showing up!
If possible, get a friend to help edit your work before sending it in. Here’s more information on how to write top quality content.
Bonus Step: Write an Effective Author Bio
You may be allowed an author bio on the guest publication, through which you can control the traffic being driven to your site.
Get the most out of this by linking to a custom landing page, rather than your homepage. This can be advantageous by optimizing for incoming readers.
Your landing page should:
- Explain what your business’ blog is about, and how you’re useful to the reader in the future.
- Give a personal description about the business.
- Ask for subscriptions.
Find what you have in common with the reader, rather than writing a bland list of your titles, in the same way you wrote a customized pitch to the editor.
Provide a friendly and professionally taken photo. Use it consistently with all of your guests posts to help create a visual “brand” for your content.
You spent all that effort building your dream website, but no traffic is coming in! Guest posting can effectively draw targeted traffic from existing blogs in your industry without a big budget.
To succeed at this for your small business, follow these steps:
- Prepare a blogger hit list.
- Create unique post ideas.
- Write custom pitches.
- Deliver quality work on time.
- Prepare an optimized author bio.
Have you experimented with guest posting? If not, are you open to trying? Ask us your questions about guest posting in the comments section below!
Solomon Thimothy is the Co-founder of Clickx, a Chicago-based white label digital marketing platform. He has been in the agency space for over a decade and has helped 100s of entrepreneurs build 7 and 8 figure agencies. He helps agency owners on a 1:1 basis to scale sales and fulfillment. Follow him on twitter @sthimothy